David Frum wonders whether the White House is doing nothing about Russian interference in the 2016 election because the president and others in his party want more of the same this year:
To what extent does President Trump—to what extent do congressional Republicans—look to Russian interference to help their party in the 2018 cycle?
Most observers predict a grim year for the GOP in 2018.... A little extra help could make a big difference to Republican hopes—and to Trump’s political survival.
Nothing has been done in the past 15 months to prevent that help from flowing. You have to wonder whether the president does not privately welcome that help, as he publicly welcomed help from WikiLeaks in the summer of 2016.
Trump’s own tweets reveal that among the things he most fears is the prospect of Representative Adam Schiff gaining the gavel of the House Intelligence Committee from the clownish present chairman, Devin Nunes. How far would Trump go to stop a dreaded political opponent, inside the law and outside?
Digby says she finds this puzzling:
I get that Trump is an imbecile who has no idea how politics are supposed to work. He learned everything he knows from watching TV. But other Republicans must know that it would have been so much better if they had at [least] pretended to be alarmed by this election interference and had put on a show to indicate that they were on top of the matter. But it really doesn't seem so.
But then she solves the mystery for herself.
They're all obviously more than willing to fight any attempts to stop another round of interference because they seem to be very sure that they are the ones who will benefit. And they have recognized that they can literally say anything and deny everything and their voters will not challenge them.
They already cheat with their vote suppression efforts and lies about voter fraud. If foreigners want to help them win elections by pushing out propaganda and stealing their opponents' proprietary documents and private correspondence, what's the problem? It's all for a good cause, amirite?
Republicans would be concerned (or at least would appear to be concerned) about Russian electoral interference if they felt that a significant percentage of the electorate was concerned -- or, to be precise, if they felt that the portion of the electorate that that they care about was concerned. Republicans generally don't care about the concerns of non-Republican voters -- they've gerrymandered their House districts, and many of their states are blood-red, so they don't need to trouble themselves with what the rest of us think.
Digby is right: Republican voters don't care about any form of electoral cheating that benefits Republicans. Their textbook example of rigged democracy is any contested election won by a Democrat. A Republican victory is categorical proof that the election in question wasn't successfully rigged.
They acknowledge that the 2016 presidential election was rigged, but they think it was rigged in Hillary Clinton's favor. She was defeated only because of their valant efforts to overcome the rigging. The election wasn't just rigged in her favor by the Russians and the FBI -- it was rigged by the media (which thwarts democracy every time a negative story about a Republican is published), by fraudulent voters (Republicans can never definitively demonstrate voter fraud, but they're certain it's out there), and by the very existence of a social safety net (giving citizens "free stuff" is, in Republicans' eyes, a distortion of democracy, because voters are helpless to vote against Democrats once they've benefited from government social services, which doesn't explain how Republicans have won so many elections in recent years, even in poor states like West Virginia).
Republicans equate democracy with Republican victories. When they don't win, they believe there is no democracy. They won in 2016, so whatever got them to victory is democratic by definition. Of course they aren't upset about Russian interference.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog